England is now subject to new national lockdown restrictions, in place from 5 November to 2 December 2020.
The new regulations are slightly less restrictive than those introduced earlier in the year, but still have an impact on motorists.
Car insurance is one of the areas affected, but perhaps not one that many drivers consider. We explain what the latest rules mean.
What are the rules on non-essential travel?
The new Covid-19 legislation introduced to cover England specifies that non-essential travel is not permitted. In particular, the new restrictions state that: ‘No person may leave or be outside of the place where they are living without reasonable excuse’.
Justifiable reasons for leaving the home are detailed on the GOV.UK website. Separate guidance is in place for other parts of the United Kingdom.
Uswitch, which has helped compile information for motorists on lockdown, notes that drivers potentially risk a £200 for making unnecessary journeys.
However, the Association of British Insurers (ABI) has some better news. The trade association for insurance companies has confirmed that drivers will not invalidate their policies by making non-essential journeys.
What if I have to drive to work due to coronavirus?
Motorists may find they need to drive to their place of work, rather than taking public transport. According to the ABI, this will not invalidate your car insurance, and should not require you to inform your insurer. This rule will remain in place until 31 December 2020.
Those on the government’s list of critical workers, who now need to drive to multiple locations for employment, will also be covered by their existing policy.
If your mileage is likely to increase substantially, Uswitch recommends speaking to your insurance company.
What if lockdown means I am driving less now?
Conversely, many motorists will be returning to working at home, leaving their cars unused. Should this lead to a substantial reduction in your annual mileage, you can contact your insurer to revise your policy.
It may result in lower premiums, but be sure to keep your insurance company informed if the mileage increases again.
Can I pause my car insurance for the next month?
It may seem an easy way of saving money, but pausing your car insurance cover for the next month could have unintended consequences.
If you have access to off-street or private parking, cancelling your insurance for a month may be an option. You will need to apply to the DVLA for a Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN) to avoid remaining liable for insuring the vehicle.
Your car must remain insured if parked on the public highway.
What happens if my car needs an MOT during lockdown?
Unlike during the first lockdown, MOT testing centres will remain open. This also means the requirement to have a valid MOT certificate continues as normal.
Should your MOT expire, your car insurance will not be valid. However, you will be permitted to drive to an MOT testing centre for a pre-booked test.
Due to an ongoing backlog from the previous government MOT extension, it is advisable to book your test as early as possible.
Can someone else drive my car if I need to self-isolate?
Covid-19 may require you to self-isolate, meaning you cannot use your car for even essential journeys.
Someone else may drive your car to get supplies for you, but they still need to be insured as normal. They may have ‘driving other cars’ cover from their own insurance policy.
Alternatively, you will be able to add them to your own insurance as a named driver.